Calgary teen puts pressure on Amazon to pull controversial product
A Calgary teenager who launched a campaign to stop an online retail giant from selling shirts that mock suicide has earned an invitation to a national event to discuss mental health.
Maggie Harder is in ninth grade and spends her lunch breaks encouraging other students to take action on mental health issues.
Earlier this year, the 14-year-old did exactly that and started a campaign asking Amazon to stop selling T-shirts that mock suicide.
One of the shirts uses the slogan "Suicide Watch" and shows a stick person with a noose around its neck while another watches with a bowl of popcorn. Another was emblazoned with the slogan‘Got Suicide?’
Maggie began a letter writing campaign to get the shirts removed from the site and that inspired a petition.
62,000 signatures were collected and Amazon pulled the products from its website.
Workers at the Centre for Suicide Prevention are proud of Maggie’s accomplishments.
“I mean nobody wants to be the brunt of the joke but especially not when you're at your lowest,” said Mara Grunau, from the Centre for Suicide Prevention. “More Albertans die by suicide than in car accidents.”
Maggie’s efforts earned her an invitation to the Jack Summit, which is a student led gathering aimed at transforming how we think about mental health.
“We do talk about it but not very often and not very well, so I would love to learn how to talk about it more often and talk about it in a productive and effective way,” said Maggie.
Maggie will spend the weekend in Toronto and plans to share what she learns with her classmates.
The Calgary Counselling Centre offers programs for people who need help to resolve emotional and social problems, click HERE for more information.
(With files from Alesia Fieldberg)